Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer

Learn about ovarian cancer screening, prevention, and treatment options.

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Ovarian, Fallopian Tube and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Risks and Medical Options

Cancer Risks

What is ovarian cancer? How is it related to fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer?

Ovarian cancer refers to three closely related cancers that are treated the same. 

  • Ovarian cancer starts in the ovaries, the part of the female reproduction system where eggs are formed. The ovaries also produce the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. 
  • Fallopian tube cancer starts in the tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus. Experts now believe that most of the cancers called ovarian cancer actually begin in the fallopian tubes. 
  • Primary peritoneal cancer begins in the lining of the abdominal cavity known as the peritoneum. 

Note that "female" and "woman" refers to people assigned female at birth.

Who is at risk for ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer?

All women are at risk for these cancers. A person's risk varies based on:

  • age
  • presence of an inherited mutation
  • personal and family history of cancer
  • other risk factors

Can ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer be hereditary?

About 10-15% of people with ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer have an inherited mutation linked to ovarian cancer risk. Genetic counseling and testing can help people learn if they are at high risk. Mutations in the genes below increase the risk for these cancers and can cause cancer to run in families. 

Genes Linked to Ovarian Cancer Risk
*More research is needed to confirm a link between fallopian tube and ovarian cancer in people with PMS2 mutations.

What else affects ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer risk?

The following factors may lower the risk for these cancers:

More research is needed to understand whether other factors may influence risk in people with inherited mutations.

Risk Management and Treatment

Risk management

People at high risk for fallopian tube and ovarian cancer have different options for managing risk, including:

  • screening
  • medications to reduce risk
  • surgery to reduce risk

National expert guidelines for cancer risk management vary by gene mutation and level of risk. Click on the button below to learn more about these guidelines. Speak with your healthcare provider to decide on a risk-management plan and schedule that is right for you.


Treatment

People diagnosed with ovarian cancer may have different treatment options based on their cancer stage and subtype as well as results from genetic testing and biomarker testing. Click on the button below to learn more about these treatment options. Speak with your healthcare provider to decide on a treatment plan that is right for you.

Last updated June 29, 2024